Everyone is excited about living off-campus. What’s not to like? You have your own place, you can throw down whenever you want, and do whatever the hell you want to do. Sounds great.
Yeah, but no one tells you about the process of finding a place. I’m here to tell you kids about the “real fun” when it comes to getting an off-campus place.
First off, if you’re not looking now, you’re screwed. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but that sick house you weaseled your way into as a freshman probably was off the market a week ago. Just how it is.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still some prime time places out there, even a few hidden gems that only a few real estate agencies have held hostage. Fact of the matter is this: you’ll get a place, but what happens from now and then is brutal.
Let me spit some knowledge at you.
A great thing about BC housing is that no matter what, you’re getting divided into 8, 6, 4, or 2 people (and a single on Greycliff if that floats your boat). At the end of the housing process, the housing gods make a decision and you’re done. Whatever you get, you get. EASY. (*disclaimer* I was #blessed with a Walsh 8-man after living in Keyes Basement).
Off-campus on the other hand is not nearly as smooth. I’ll give you a taste of my experience.
I started looking at places in late September/early October of sophomore year. I had a few buddies in my 8-man that still wanted to live together so we started checking out places. We learned pretty quickly that having a strict number of how many dudes we wanted in a house was never going to happen. That was the first little bit of trouble.
Checked out a few places that held anywhere from 6 to 12 people. If you have 12 close friends at the beginning of sophomore year of college – god bless you — let alone know 12 guys you would get along living with for the sake of getting a kickass house. So you start talking to other dudes and making alliances and letting each other know about places that might be able to slide you in in case of any doomsday scenario. I had to have talked to about 3-4 separate groups of dudes (4+) about possibly rooming together. Not fun.
Hold up, though. Wait until you have to deal with the constant pressure from the real estate agent. It seems like you’re always in constant competition for a home (which is true) and that someone is always currently in the midst of signing a lease. You real estate agent says to you, “But hey, if you can get the paperwork into me before they do, the place is yours!” What a standup guy you say!
As the great philosopher Chief Keef would say, “Nah.”
So say you finally find a place you like (which my group did) and it was for 10 guys. And, HOLY SHIT YOU ALL AGREE YOU LIKE IT, you decide to sign the lease. Time to sign the forms! Everything seems to be going fine, but one of your close buddies backs out because of whatever reason and shafts the entire group. The reason in my case was legit, but never get too excited that you have a place until you all sign on that dotted line. Just sayin’.
Back to the drawing board!
It’s late October/early November and you’re freakin’ the fuck out. I feel you, I really do. We’re looking at new places everyday trying to find that hidden gem I mentioned before. At this point, all your alliances are saying, “If you find something or if I find something and it doesn’t work… well we had a nice run together.” Cordial, really.
After awhile, found a place with 2 of my close buddies for a house that needed a few more to make it happen. The group alliances had waaaay more than we needed and they weren’t about to cut people — so it was recruiting time. We went straight to the kids with 4 years of housing and did the hard sell. Took a few weeks of schmoozing, but the shit got done. Here we are, happy days are here again!
Ha, yeah right.
Everyone signed the lease, but now it’s time to pay up. Asking anyone for money sucks in general, but try getting a half dozen guys who don’t live together to pay $700-$800 on time. Shit just doesn’t happen easy.
In the end, it worked out. Some people have it easy with this process, other people not so much. I could have went on for days about more silly crap that happened, but you only need a little taste…
Wait until you hear about what it’s like when you finally move in to the place, too. Stay tuned, kids.